Brad Roberts rewarded with new Ulster contract
South African hooker Brad Roberts has signed his first professional contract with Ulster which will keep him at the Kingspan Stadium until June 2022.
After spells with the Sharks U19 side in the Currie Cup back in his home country and Welsh Premiership side RCG, Roberts signed for Rainey Old Boys.
He quickly made an impression at the Magherafelt based outfit helping them secure a first Ulster Senior League title and also helped the club win promotion to Division 2A of the All Ireland League.
With Robert Herring on Ireland duty and a few injuries in the Ulster squad Roberts was brought in as cover.
He made his Ulster debut in a win against Edinburgh at Murrayfield with an impressive cameo from the bench.
Roberts came off the bench again in the Christmas derby win at the Sportsground against Connacht and featured in the victory over the Dragons at the Principality Stadium.
The 25-year-old scored his first try for Ulster in the last Pro 14 game of the season as they beat Zebre.
Ulster head coach Dan McFarland feels Roberts has earned his contract.
“Bradley has made an important contribution to the squad since he joined us earlier this season from Rainey Old Boys,” he said.
“It’s impressive how he has seamlessly transitioned from the club to the professional game – and given the hard work he has put in, particularly around his role in the line-out, it’s great to see this rewarded with a professional contract for the season ahead.”
Academy lock Cormac Izuchukwu has also committed his future to the province by penning a two-year deal.
He made his Ulster debut away to Glasgow in February coming on for Kieran Treadwell. The 21-year-old made five more appearances from the bench before earning his first start against Zebre.
Izuchukwu made his European debut against Harlequins in the last 16 of the Challenge Cup again coming off the bench for Treadwell, however he only lasted nine minutes at the Stoop before having to come off due to a serious injury that is likely to keep him sidelined for a lengthy spell.
Izuchukwu will stay on a development contract for next season before being upgraded to a professional one for the 2022/23 campaign.
Meanwhile, out-half Bill Johnston has joined English Championship club Ealing Trailfinders on a short-term loan deal as injury cover.
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